Don't Leave Sleep at Home
Just because you're traveling for business doesn't mean you can't get a good night's sleep. Here's how to grab the rest you need on the road.
Even if you enjoy travel, changing your routine ramps up levels of stress hormones, which can disrupt your sleep. But you need to be fresh for whatever you've got scheduled the next day. Here's help to settle into sleep—no matter where your travels take you.
Skip the vino. While in transit or at dinner, turn down the wine and other alcohol. You'll feel sluggish the next morning and may have a hard time falling asleep if you sip adult beverages before bed.
Avoid caffeine. Especially when you're flying into a different time zone, you may be tempted to sip a caffeinated beverage to make it through the day. But by knocking back that soda, you'll likely keep yourself awake later. A better idea is to…
Fuel up with healthy foods. Eat lightly the day before you leave, and take along nutritious snacks such as fruit, baby carrots, or peanut butter on whole wheat bread. And when on the go, avoid fried foods. Especially if you don't normally eat fast food, the fat and oils can lead to indigestion, keeping you awake.
Sneak in a little fitness. People who got moving for at least an hour four times a week woke up half as often and slept an average of 48 minutes more a night than sedentary folks, according to a study in the journal Sleep Medicine. If your lodging doesn't have a fitness center, your body weight is your most valuable workout tool. You can do squats, push-ups, crunches, curls, and shoulder presses. For the curls and presses, use objects in your carry-on bag for resistance. Or just take a walk around the hotel. Best timing: late afternoon so your body temp has a chance to cool down before bed.
Pack herbal help. To help ease into the night and put travel stress behind you, sip some chamomile tea. You can also turn to melatonin supplements. Your body produces melatonin on its own, but your internal clock may get thrown off when you travel. In a study from the journal Sleep, researchers found that people who took melatonin got about a half hour more snooze time.
Control your environment. At home, you're used to your nighttime surroundings. In a strange hotel, lots of things can disrupt your sleep. Make sure to lower the thermostat—a lower body temperature promotes sleep. And cover lights from control panels and the alarm clock—these can overstimulate you.
Stick to your bedtime. When you go to bed and get up at the same times each day, your body rewards you with a good night's sleep. Even when traveling, keep the same hours, and don't try to catch extra shut-eye during the seminar.
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